One Nation, Underprivileged: Why American Poverty Affects Us All

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Despite its enormous wealth, the United States leads the industrialized world in poverty. One Nation, Underprivileged unravels this disturbing paradox by offering a unique and radically different understanding of American poverty. It debunks many of our most common myths about the poor, while at the same time provides a powerful new framework for addressing this enormous social and economic problem.
Mark Robert Rank vividly shows that the fundamental causes of poverty are to be found in our economic structure and political policy failures, rather than individual shortcomings or attitudes. He establishes for the first time that a significant percentage of Americans will experience poverty during their adult lifetimes, and firmly demonstrates that poverty is an issue of vital national concern.
Ultimately, Rank provides us with a new paradigm for understanding poverty, and outlines an innovative set of strategies that will reduce American poverty. One Nation, Underprivileged represents a profound starting point for rekindling a national focus upon America's most vexing social and economic problem.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"An admirable and thoughtful book...Social Forces

"A vital book that reminds us of the greatest blind spot in American politics."—Gregg Easterbrook, The New Republic

"Rank's book is a must read for students and scholars studying the poverty problem. It is emotionally moving, intellectually stimulating and it inspires us to action." —International Journal of Social Welfare

"Amid the commercial babble of most messages heard in a land of plenty, Rank's thesis definitely deserves a higher profile." —St. Louis Post-Dispatch

An analytical yet passionate critique of the harsh economic reality of poverty, which will affect most of us during our lives —Z

"Rank stands out amid the rising chorus of authors who are decrying wage stagnation and widening income gap in that he tackles the very concept of poverty and its dimensions to demonstrate how and why its pervasiveness makes it a moral and political problem that affects everyone." —America, the National Catholic Weekly

" engaging book, nontechnical in its presentation of the facts, and written with great compassion for the least fortunate among us. This volume also brings together a large and complex literature on poverty and new empirical evidence on the dynamics of poverty." —Daniel T. Lichter, Ohio State University Journal of Marriage and Family

"Rank writes well, and his proposals reflect the state of the policy art on the more liberal end of the political spectrum. Amid all the political discourse about individual deficiencies, his focus on the structural causes of poverty is especially welcome."—Journal of Sociology and Social Welfare

"Deconstructing the dominant ideology and poverty, Rank insists that since the poor are poor for structural reasons, we should stop thinking about them as a tribe apart...Rank writes well, and his proposals reflect the state of the policy art on the more liberal end of the political spectrum. Amid all the political discourse about individual deficiencies, his focus on the structural causes of poverty is especially welcome."—Joel Blau, Journal of Sociology and Social Welfare

"One Nation, Underprivileged, calls the social worker in community practice to act on a new definition of poverty that addresses the structural inequities in our economic system rather than the implied failure of individuals and families....This is a book for practitioners whose work will be renewed and affirmed by Rank's energy and his reminder of the power of coaltiions to affect political change. Equally, this book is a text that will give students in the social sciences direction as they consider their place as providers in confronting the tremendous momentum of America's capitalism and its impact on the poor....a passionate treatment of poverty that will benefit and inspire the practitioner and citizen activist alike."—Journal of Community Practice

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195101683
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 4/1/2004
  • Pages: 368
  • Lexile: 1330L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 9.30 (w) x 6.50 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Washington University
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Table of Contents

Part I. The Nature of American Poverty
1. Disturbing Contrasts
2. Below the Line
3. Poverty as a Structural Failing
Part II. A Cause for Concern
4. In Our Self Interest
5. True to Values
6. Essence of Citizenship
Part III. Creating Fundamental Change
7. A New Paradigm
8. Future Directions
9. From the Ground Up
Appendix A: Sources of Data
Appendix B: Additional Life Table Analyses

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 26, 2004

    One Nation, Underprivileged: Why American Poverty Affects Us All

    The scope and insights of 'One Nation, Underprivileged' are amazing. If you were to read just one book on American poverty, this should be your book. It lays out a powerful new direction for making America a better and more humane place to live. Highly recommended for anyone concerned about the inequities in America, and changing the direction this country has been heading. A tour de force!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 28, 2004

    One Nation, Underprivileged: Why American Poverty Affects Us All

    I've read quite a few books on American poverty, but 'One Nation, Underprivileged' is by far the best. Rank develops an argument that engages his readers, and he demonstrates why poverty is an issue that every American needs to be concerned about. Just as important, he provides the reader with a number of innovative strategies and ideas that would begin to alleviate poverty and make the United States a more just society. This book is a powerful tool for all who are interested in creating a positive social change in this country. Highly recommended!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 5, 2004

    A Must Read!

    This is a really thought-provoking book. The fact that most Americans at some point in their lives will experience poverty puts an entirely different spin on the subject. Poverty becomes an issue of 'us', rather than 'them.' A must read for anyone interested in the issues of poverty and inequality.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 12, 2013

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